- a spike of unisexual, apetalous flowers having scaly, usually deciduous bracts, as of a willow or birch.
- an inflorescence consisting of a spike, usually hanging, of much reduced flowers of either sex: occurs in birch, hazel, etcAlso called: ament
1570s, from Dutch katteken “flowering stem of willow, birch, hazel, etc.,” literally “kitten,” diminutive of katte “cat” (see cat (n.)). So called for their soft, furry appearance.
- A long, thin, indeterminate inflorescence of tiny, petalless flowers growing on willows, birches, oaks, poplars, and certain other trees. The flowers on a catkin are either all male or all female. The female flowers are usually pollinated by the wind. Also called ament See illustration at inflorescence.